RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - A monumental moment for Badlands National Park, as they celebrate the addition of new land for bison to roam.
Four bison were released at Badlands National Park. (KOTA)
Four bison were released at Badlands National Park to celebrate the opening of about 23-thousand acres of land for the animals.
"Magnificent animals. And just seeing them free on this new landscape for the first time is a thrill," says the Badlands National Park superintendent, Mike Pflam.
The project has been in the works for more than five years, and Pflaum says it has taken a lot of time and partnerships to get to this point.
"Just another important way that we can demonstrate that the national park service is working hard for the people of America. To keep our parks preserved," says Pflam.
Currently, there are about 12-hundred bison in the park, located in the far west portion.
"Been confined by fences and features, and now for the first time since 1877 they are going to be allowed to roam farther east in the park," says Pflam.
Pflaum says having a thousand or more bison is preferred when it comes to keeping strong genetics.
"With the expansion of the range, it does allow the possibility for the growth in the population," says Pflam.
The expansion isn't only good for the health of the bison; it can also be seen as a benefit for the public.
"It's going to provide outstanding new opportunities for visitors to see and photograph and learn about bison in their native habitat," says Pflam.
Pflam says it could take months and even years for bison to find their way to the new grassland.